Sunday, March 26, 2017

Caveat Lector

As regular readers (all 3 of you!) know, I'm a purist.  I don't like it when books are "updated" or abridged or adapted.  And so I went through the school library and got rid of all the "classic starts" books, and anything that was "based on" the books of another author and so on and so forth.  But those publishers can be tricky.  Sometimes it's hard to spot a modified book and I was recently horrified to discover one on... my own bookshelf.  (dum dum DUM.)

A kindergarten class was doing an author study on Dr. Seuss and asked me to read a Dr. Seuss book of my choosing during their library period.  I happily picked There's A Wocket in My Pocket, which I used to sing to my own children, and proceeded to happily embarass myself by singing the book to the kindergarteners.  Except I was tripping over my words because, while they were similar, they were not identical to the version I'd always sung to my own kids.

Which was the original and which was the impostor?  It took some close reading to find out.  I'd been reading the board book all these years, which I'm pretty sure we'd acquired as a gift or a hand-me-down, not as an original purchase.  Turns out, the board book had been "adapted" from the original.

Board book version
But here's the thing: I like the board book version better.  (Horrors!) The rhymes work better and the ending is sweeter and less wordy.  Is it just a matter of what we're used to?  (Or maybe just what I'm used to?)  Who knows? But I'm bringing in my own board book version the next time I plan to sing this book to a class.

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